40 tips to make your Knoxville, TN home sell faster

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 8:16 am, May 27th, 2010  

knoxville tennessee real estate listings

These 40 Free or inexpensive tips can make your home show better, sell faster, and put more money in your pocket at closing.


1. Be sure your lawn and shrubbery is kept trimmed at all times. Consider
removing overgrown trees and shrubs that  hide the house from the street.

2. Keep the garage doors down at all times.

3. For a touch of color, have seasonal flowers growing in beds and containers.

4. Make sure your driveway is in good repair. Pressure wash concrete drives
and walks to remove stains and car drippings, and put a fresh coat of
sealer on asphalt drives.

5. Make sure patios and decks are clean and in good repair.  Replace any
rotten wood and nail down loose boards on decking or steps; pressure wash
if needed.

6. Garage sale time! Clear out everything you don’t intend to keep and tidy
up what’s staying.  Make sure garage doors and openers are in proper
working order.

7.Check all railings and fencing to make sure it’s in good repair and
freshly painted.

8. Pay special attention to the area around your front door; make sure your
doorbell works, clean all cobwebs, leaves, and other debris that may have
accumulated there. Give the front door a fresh coat of paint if needed;
paint is one of the most cost effective fix up items you can do.

9. Check for broken windows or leaking seals on thermo pane windows;
replace if necessary.

10. Clean all the cobwebs from around the front door.  Make sure all
outdoor lighting (especially front porch) is clean and shiny; replace if
necessary. It is especially important that the entrance to your home make a
good first impression on prospective buyers.  This sets the tone for the
whole showing.

11. Check your mailbox. Is it straight and upright? Neatly trimmed around?

12. Before you start indoors walk across the street in front of your house
and look back (like a buyer will see it).  Does it present an appealing


13. Start by walking through the house and making a list. Do your carpets
need shampooing? Floors need a fresh coat of wax? Dust all ceiling fans
especially the blades and wash light
14. You’re going to have to pack when you move anyway, so go through all
your closets and pack up everything you don’t need for the next couple of
months. A closet with only a few neatly arranged items creates an
impression of abundant storage space.

15. Thin out overcrowded rooms. Ever notice the model homes sparse
furnishings?  They make the rooms look larger. Consider renting a storage
facility to store excess lamps, tables, and large items that eat up space
in a room.

16.Go through and pack up most of your family pictures and collections of
model ships, stamps, quilts, or anything that might cause a buyer to stop
and look at your collections of stuff instead of your house.

17.Check all light fixtures to make sure all the bulbs burn.  Use the
largest wattage bulb that you safely can to give off more light.

18. Wash all your windows and make sure window treatments are clean and in
good repair. Keep the window coverings open whenever possible to let in
more light.

19. With a good degreaser, wipe down everything in the kitchen so it feels
clean to the touch. Clean your stove and oven; replace stove eye pans if needed

20. Go through your kitchen cabinets and pantry to make sure they’re neat
and tidy; give any food that you don’t plan to use right away to the local
food pantry.

21.Make sure your sinks are clean at all times and free of dirty dishes and

22. Remove all excess items from your counters to give the impression of
lots of work surface.

23. Pleasing aromas add to the appealing atmosphere we’re trying to
establish for your buyers; consider keeping a saucepan of potpourri on the
stove to give off an appealing scent.

24.Clean all light switch places by taking them off and washing with soap
and water; replace if necessary.

25.Make sure the bathrooms are spotless at all times with fresh towels,
decorative soaps, and all fixtures are shiny, scrubbed, and in good repair.

26. Check all faucets and shower heads to make sure they’re spotless and
free of leaks and drips.

27. Repaint interior rooms if needed with neutral colors.

28.Don’t forget your ceilings too; years of living in a home with cooking,
smoking, and other everyday activities can stain ceilings.  Paint ages;
repaint if needed.

29. Don’t have large, space eating house plants sitting around; give them
away or ask a neighbor to store them until you move.

31.The more light you can get into a room the bigger and more spacious the
room will appear. When you leave for a showing, turn on lights in rooms
that are normally darker than you would like and make sure the window
coverings are open to admit outside light.

32. An old decorator trick to bring in more light as well as make rooms
appear larger are mirrors; either hanging on a wall or on a stand.

33. Pack away and store out of season clothes. Get rid of extra hangars.
Straighten up your shoes (consider some inexpensive shoe racks from a
discount store like K-Mart or Wal-Mart).

34. When painting don’t forget the interiors of closets and the closets
doors; make sure all closet and interior doors open and close correctly.

35. Check where ceilings meet wall and clean all cobwebs, this is a
commonly overlooked area when cleaning, along with tops of tall furniture
items such as hutches, entertainment centers, etc.

36. If you have a pet make sure there are no odors. You may not notice
odors since you live with your pet every day, have a neutral third party
give your home a “sniff” test for objectionable odors that may turn buyers off.

37. Also, when buyers come to visit, keep your pet under control, or better
yet, get a friend or neighbor to “pet sit” for you while the buyers are

38. It’s important that you leave the house for all showings. Buyers feel
less inhibited if you’re not around and will usually take a closer look in
closets and in kitchen cabinets, as well as voice any objections that your
agent can then deal with. If the buyers won’t make comments because you’re
following them around pointing things out then your agent can’t deal with
any potential problems that may hinder making an offer.

39. If you have several vehicles make sure the spot closest to the door
buyers enter through is empty for them.

40. Freshly baked or even store bought cookies & little snacks along with
an appropriate beverage (hot in winter, cold in summer) along with a sign
saying “Please Sit Down and Enjoy a Treat While You’re Here” will make your
home more memorable even if they don’t take anything. Remember little
things can go a long way towards getting your home sold quickly for the
best price.

Visit www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com for more selling tips, staging, finance information, and much more including all greater Knoxville area real estate Realtor listings.

Recipe for Vidalia Chicken………Mmmm, good.

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 4:38 pm, May 10th, 2010  

Vidalia® onions are in lots of stores now so it’s time to get cooking. These super sweet onions can only be legally called “Vidalia” when grown in a 20 county area of Georgia with the town of Vidalia being roughly in the center. Vidalia, Georgia is roughly located about 90 miles east of Savannah, GA

The Vidalia Onion was named Georgia’s official vegetable in 1990; but enough history, let’s talk about eating them.

The following original recipe I created not only involves a great tasting onion but a legendary Tennessee product as well, Jack Daniel’s famous Black Label, sour mash bourbon whiskey. Don’t worry, using Jack to cook with won’t make anyone tipsy, the alcohol evaporates during the cooking process just leaving that wonderful sweet smell and taste of sour mash bourbon which greatly complements both the Vidalia onions and the chicken.

The following is for 4 servings; easy to fix the same for 2 people and refrigerate the extra portions for another meal, it reheats very well.

You’ll need:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Vidalia onions, peeled and julienned
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 Cup of Jack Daniels
  • 2 tablespoons of Lawry’s seasoning sale (or equivalent)
  • 4 slices of Swiss cheese

In a large saute pan melt the butter over medium heat, add the julienned onions and cook until they are translucent, add the chicken breasts, Jack Daniels, and seasoning salt. Cover and cook about 20-30 minutes until chicken breasts are done.

Remove chicken breasts to plate and reduce the liquid in the pan until it begins to thicken. Lay one slice of Swiss cheese on top of each chicken breast and spoon hot onions and liquid onto to melt cheese.

Serve hot with most any vegetable. If you have a large enough bottle of Jack Daniels you can also have a drink before or with dinner. ;)

Bon Appetit.

PS, just in case you need a kitchen to prepare this delicious recipe in, I suggest a visit to www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com to pick one out.

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Quick, easy, and delicious Carrot Cake recipe

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 8:41 am, April 1st, 2010  
Carrot Cake
Image via Wikipedia

An old family friend named Jean gave me this terrific Carrot Cake recipe many years ago. I’ve made it lots of times and it’s always delicious as well as quick and easy. Quick, easy, and delicious meet all 3 of my food preparation criteria.

Give one a try for Easter; you’ll be a star with the folks that eat a piece.

Jean’s Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups of self rising flour
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Vegetable oil
  • 1 Cup of chopped pecans (I often substitute Black Walnuts)
  • 3 Cups of fresh grated carrots, firmly packed

Mix all ingredients in order listing and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes

Cream cheese frosting

  • One 16 ounce box powdered sugar
  • 1 large block cream cheese softened
  • 1 stick (1/4 pound) butter or margarine (butter is best)
  • 2 Tablespoons of pure Vanilla Extract

Mix thoroughly and spread on cooled cake, reserve a few nuts to sprinkle on top for garnish.

carrot cake compliments of knoxville realtor jim lee

Try this delicious Carrot Cake recipe for Easter

Give this one a try soon, I promise this will be the easiest carrot cake you’ve ever made and one of the best tasting.

Happy Easter

By the way, if you need a new yard to hide your Easter eggs in, try KnoxvilleHomeSearcher.com to see all the greater Knoxville area listings for sale.

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Knoxville Real Estate Transfers for the week of February 28, 2010

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 8:34 am, March 1st, 2010  

See 11,509 Knoxville area homes and condos for sale right here.

February 2010 is now officially over. The total sales from the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors won’t be available until around the 15th of March so as to include late closings from February. We can however take a look at last week’s property transfers from the Knox County Register of Deeds office.

Knox County TN real estate property transfers

I count 104 for the past week which is about on par for this year’s totals. Last year we were averaging around 150 a week but I still believe this year’s numbers will increase as the spring selling market gets in full swing.

I mean who wouldn’t buy a house now if you wanted to and could qualify for a loan. There is a huge selection of homes for sale in all price ranges, motivated sellers who are willing to deal on prices and concessions to buyers, AND the lowest interest rates we’ve seen in a long, long time.

The only think holding real estate sales to their current levels is the jobs (unemployment) and the economic mess the United States (and a lot of the world) finds itself in right now.

The January unemployment figures held pretty much steady at 10% of the workforce. However, the real rate of unemployment — which includes part- time workers who want full-time jobs and people who want work but have simply stopped looking — rose to 17.3% from 17.2%.  Not good.

Only two more months left for buyers to get a home under contract now and qualify for the up to $8,000 tax credit for those that have not owned a home in the past 3 years and up to $6,500 for those that have. Call or email me for details.

Here’s what January 2010 sales looked like compared to previous Januarys. We were up 90 homes in 2010 compared to 2009 so that’s  good news.

knoxville tn real estate listings

January sales

Check out my exciting new website below to see all Knoxville area Realtor listings of houses and condos for sale. Search 1000′s of Beautiful Homes Photos, Prices, Tours, Maps & More!

See 11,509 Knoxville area homes and condos for sale right here.

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Knoxville, Tennessee real estate sales over the past 11 years

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 5:12 pm, January 26th, 2010  
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New listing in popular North Hills section of north Knoxville.

Let’s look back over the past 11 years to get some perspective about where the current greater Knoxville, Tennessee area real estate market is compared to past years.

Knoxville area sales for the past 11 years

Knoxville area sales for the past 11 years

In 2009 all the members of the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors sold 10,495 houses and condos. in 2008 it was 11,850.  That’s a 11% drop in volume 2008. It’s also a whopping 40% drop from the peak sales year of 2006.

Basically that means the greater Knoxville area is back to pre-2002 sales levels.

That’s what has happened in the past 11 years; now let’s talk about what I believe is going to happen in 2010 and beyond.

I believe interest rates will remain low for at least this year, probably in the 5-6% range because of low demand. Any retailer will tell you that you can’t raise the price of your merchandise if it’s not selling.

Lots of pundits are predicting that housing prices have stabilized. I don’t agree with them. I think foreclosures and short sales will keep downward pressure on housing prices for this year and some years beyond. How many? anyone’s guess.

Mortgage will continue to be hard to get. I’m hearing stories from fellow Realtors about lenders asking for more and more documentation and verifications on even buyers with gold plated credit histories. For instance, I have a closing set for this coming Friday on a fairly high end house, great buyer, great credit history, and substantial down payment. Lender is now (4 days before closing) asking for more documentation and a statement from inspector as to minor maintenance issues. I’ve never had anything like that before.

Still a great time to buy a house, an OK time to sell one that’s priced competitively and in great condition, and it’s now taking longer than ever before to find a buyer and get to the closing table.

Below is the weekly sales report from the Knox County Register of deeds showing all the transfers recorded in the past week. In 2009 we averaged roughly 150 sales a week. I count 98 for last week. A sign of things to come? I don’t necessarily think so. It’s still early in the year and historically near the bottom of the yearly sales cycle.

I’ll continue to monitor these reports and we’ll see if they start to rise in February and March as they have done in past years.

knoxville tennessee real estate listings, homes, houses, and condos for sale

Knoxville, TN weekly sales report

Visit www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com to see all the Knoxville area Realtor listings for sale. Please leave your comments below and feel free to contact me directly with any questions or to schedule a showing or talk about selling your current home.

Crystal ball gazings for the Knoxville, Tennessee real estate market.

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 12:23 pm, January 3rd, 2010  
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This delightful duplex is near UT and has 1 two BR and 1 1 BR units, will cash flow.

Happy New Years fellow Knoxvillians; it’s now officially 2010.

Following is the latest report from the Knox County Register of Deeds office for real estate transfers (sales) completed last week (January 3, 2010).

Knoxville, Tennessee real estate transfers.

I counted 88 property transfers in the past week. That’s a low number compared to the 150 we have been averaging for all of 2009 but I believe the holidays had more to do with that than other factors.

Are you like me and wondering what the new year will bring for the Knoxville real estate market?

Here’s what I think is likely to happen:

  • Interest rates are going to rise a little. I believe we will be looking at 6% or so at some point in 2010.
  • It’s anyone’s guess what will happen when the tax credit expires at the end of April 2010. That credit has been driving the low end of our market for several months now so it can’t help but have a negative impact when it’s gone.
  • The Knoxville Area Association of Realtors 2009 sales report for the year will be out around the 15th of this month so we will be able to compare 2009 to past years. However we already know the numbers for the last 11 months of 2009 so I’m not expecting any surprises in December sales.
  • There are currently 3,332 active residential listings in Knox County.
  • There is also 521 “sale pending” listings in Knox County. I’m wondering how many of those are for real and how many are listings where the sale has fallen through and the status was never changed. I know I have one lease purchase set to close next month that has been there since July of 2009.
  • I think the volume of sales will rise in 2010; how much is anyone’s guess. 10-20% sounds realistic to me.
  • I think the price appreciation will remain flat with maybe a slight rise but very slight if it happens.
  • One in seven households with mortgages was either in foreclosure or delinquent on payments at the end of September, the most recent data available from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Some owners are defaulting because they have lost their jobs. Expect more foreclosures in 2010.
  • The biggest factor missing from the real estate market (and other markets as well) is confidence. Investors and most everyone else are just unsure about what the short term future brings. Nervous investors tend to set on their assets and not invest them.

It will be interesting to revisit this post in about 6 months and compare my predictions to what has actually happened.

Nothing to do with real estate and just for fun, here’s a list of people and things with roots in Knoxville, Tennessee.

There are lots of awesome homes for sale if your in the market. If you’re thinking of selling houses are selling, 88 sold just this past week and that’s a low number compared to the 150 average we’ve had for all of 2009.

Visit www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com to see all of the Knoxville area homes for sale, find great tips to make your home sell faster and for more money, and of course, contact me to buy or sell.

Best wishes to all for a very happy and prosperous 2010!

Knox County Register of Deeds real estate transfers for the week of Dec. 27th

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 10:21 am, December 28th, 2009  
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Terrific new listing in north Knoxville, reduced $25,000!

Not surprisingly it looks like the real estate transfers in Knoxville and Farragut Tennessee were down a bit this past week.

I counted 135 with the usual high numbers in the lower price ranges as it’s been all of 2009

I’m very excited for 2010 to begin (which is will in only 4 more days) and see what a new year holds for us.

On one hand interest rates remain very, very low which makes buying attractive. But on the other hand unemployment remains higher than usual in Tennessee although we’re faring better than many other areas.

I believe I’m predicting a modest improvement in the volume of sales with prices still stagnant to downward. A good time to buy if you’re thinking about that. For sellers you have to price your houses competitively and be prepared to deal if you want to sell, you’re facing a lot of competition out there.

www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com is the “go to” place for both buyers and sellers for all of the Knoxville area Realtor listing plus some great selling tips and information including my free 52 page ebook titled: “450 Ways to Sell Your Home Faster For More Money” email [email protected] for your free copy.

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